Ergogenic Aids Unclear Scientific Evidence: Category B

· 21st March 2019
Scientific research on ergogenic aids has already been conducted. However, it’s unclear how certain effects are produced and these have been recorded as variable. With a lack of further studies, their effectiveness can neither be proven or discarded.

The Australian Institute of Sports (AIS) has classified dietary supplements (specifically ergogenic aids used by athletes) according to their levels of scientific evidence.

The term “scientific evidence” refers to everything that has been proven through scientific knowledge. The product has been investigated and its functions and effects on the body have been categorized.

This is what we have discovered about supplements in Category B, and according to AIS classification. These are dietary products that have a possible function in the sports world but the evidence is not solid enough to be supported by the scientific community in general.

Let’s start from the beginning…

Ergogenesis” is the group of physiological processes through which the body produces energy. In the world of sports, the efficiency in the production of energy is a key factor. Currently, on the market, we can find several different products that may give a performance advantage. These are the so-called ergogenic aids.

collagen supplements

When we decide to try this kind of product it’s important to seek professional advice. A specialist will help us choose the supplements that meet our needs in the best way.

Taking ergogenic aids naturally or as a supplement?

It’s important to keep in mind that these products do not replace training and discipline. We’ll only achieve noticeable results in a competition if these ergogenic aids are taken within a sports training frame.

Anytime you are offered a dietary supplement you must ask yourself two questions: what benefits will it produce? What are the side effects of taking it?

Supplement Classification

Category Scientific Evidence and uses Supplements
A- Approved Supplements
  • Scientific community approves its use
  • Expected benefits vary according to each individual response
-Sports drinks (Drinks with carbohydrates and electrolytes)

-Sport Gels

-Sport Bars

-Calcium Supplements

-Iron Supplements

-Probiotics for Immunological aid

-Multivitamins and minerals

Vitamin D

Electrolyte replacement drinks

Caffeine

Creatine

-Bicarbonate

Beta-alanine

B- Supplements with low evidence
  • Insufficient scientific evidence to recommend its use
  • Unverified possible benefits
  • May be used for:

-Research

-As medical treatment controlled by a professional

 

-C and E antioxidants

-L-Carnitine

-Beta-hydroxy-beta-methyl butyrate

Glutamine

Glucosamine

-Quercetin

-Curcumin

-Exotic berries (Acai, Goji. etc.)

-Glutamine

-Other polyphenols, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatories

 

C-Supplements with hardly any scientific evidence
  • Insufficient evidence for recommended use
  • If an individual wants to use any of them:

-The individual must be aware of the risks and establish safety rules

-Vendors must issue warranty guidelines

-Must be under professional supervision

 

 

-Ribose

Lactaway

-Coenzyme Q10

-Vitamins not included in Category A

-Ginseng

-Peroxide

-Medium-chain triglyceride, MCT

-Pyruvate

-Everything else (If not found in either Group A or B is probably in this category)

 

 

D- Banned supplements Banned

(high risk of positive doping test)

 

 

 

Stimulants:

-Ephedrine

-Strychnine

Prohormones or Hormone Boosters:

-DHEA

Agonists Beta- 2 adrenergic:

-Higenamina

Others:

-Glycerol

 

 

 

 

In this article, we’ll focus on those in category B, which have some scientific evidence. These are related to specific properties and functions but further scientific research is necessary in order to corroborate them. Next, we’ll analyze ergogenic aids (Cat.B) which currently have the most research.

L-Carnitine

L-Carnitine’s physiological function is to carry fatty acids to the interior of the mitochondria. The hypothesis around this product is that it will increase fatty acid transportation above physiological levels, to its oxidation. This implies an increase in glycogen reserves.

l-carnitine

It’s believed that 2-4 grams per day of L-Carnitine, along with 170 grams of simple carbohydrates (stimulate insulin production), could produce effects.

HMB (Beta-hydroxy beta-methyl butyrate)

There is a hypothesis which states that it could inhibit muscular protein degradation. Therefore, an athlete’s mass and strength would increase. Specifically, in cyclists, it could increase their maximum oxygen volume. (VO2max)

Glutamine

This substance stimulates the glycogen synthetase enzyme, in other words, resynthesizes glycogen reserves. It can also be considered to be immunomodulatory since it could help prevent infections.

Glucosamine

It’s expected that this product can be proven effective in repairing cartilage. We could prevent joint pain and injury in sports with high impact (footing, tennis elbow, long jump, etc.)


            
  • Thein, L. A., Thein, J. M., & Landry, G. L. (1995). Ergogenic aids. Physical Therapy. https://doi.org/10.1093/ptj/75.5.426
  • Juhn, M. S. (2003). Popular Sports Supplements and Ergogenic Aids. Sports Medicine. https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-200333120-00004
  • Pesta, D. H., Angadi, S. S., Burtscher, M., & Roberts, C. K. (2013). The effects of caffeine, nicotine, ethanol, and tetrahydrocannabinol on exercise performance. Nutrition and Metabolism. https://doi.org/10.1186/1743-7075-10-71
  • McNaughton, L. R., Siegler, J., & Midgley, A. (2008). Ergogenic effects of sodium bicarbonate. Current Sports Medicine Reports. https://doi.org/10.1249/JSR.0b013e31817ef530
  • Cermak, N. M., & Van Loon, L. J. C. (2013). The use of carbohydrates during exercise as an ergogenic aid. Sports Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-013-0079-0